First of all, before we delve into today’s topic of how to find anything on the Internet, I want to thank you for all of the wonderful comments you shared in recent renovation posts.
Anyway, this wasn’t the post I was going to write. I was going to republish this post, “OMG, My Interior Designer Just Fired Me!”
However, when I googled the title, I found MY POST on another decorator’s LinkedIn profile.
This makes Lauwie vewwwy angwwwy.
Whenever I find one or several of my blog posts stolen with zero credit given to me, it feels like someone just ripped one of my babies out of my arms and has run off with it.
Fine, yes, that’s a bit melodramatic, but you get the point. It sucks.
Anyway, I just took a screenshot of the first paragraph on this darling’s Linkedin page. As you can see by comparing it with my post from a year earlier, she lifted it verbatim.
I left a message telling her she needed to remove the stolen blog post STAT, and then I left her a message via her website saying the same thing. I told her in no uncertain terms that the post needed to be deleted from the Internet 100% – IMMEDIATELY, and I told her I was serious. That’s all.
OMG, she JUST called to ream me out for being rude and unprofessional.
Wait. What??? The thief is calling me rude and unprofessional? It’s one wacky world, ain’t it?
Apparently, she was incensed because she did not like being called a thief. Her story was that she hired someone to write her blog for her. No offense, but I’m not sure why anyone would do that except for an occasional guest post. Isn’t that a tad disingenuous? Of course, that’s beside the point as it does not absolve her from the crime.
However, she continued to scream in my ear that she had no idea it was stolen property and in an angry tone recommended that I find out what the situation was before I go and accuse someone of theft.
Yes, that happens, but it’s still her responsibility to make sure it’s content she’s allowed to publish and put her forkin NAME on!
I mean, it’s like saying: “Officer, how dare you arrest me for kidnapping this woman’s baby! Who the hell do you think you are? Uncuff me this instant! I paid good money for this baby! How am I to know the baby belonged to someone else? Yeeesh!”
Alas, the “ghostwriter theft” has happened to me before; however, that time, the designer, as most would be, was mortified and exceedingly apologetic. Nope, not this time. A simple apology would’ve sufficed instead of the victim shaming. Gaslighting at its finest. She did, however, remove my post.
I imagine there are dozens of my stolen posts out there. But, do I have time to google the headline of every post?
Okay, I don’t want to be a total Debbie Downer. That’s not why you come here.
And, I realize it might not even sound like a big deal to you, but this blog is my livelihood and duplicating my content hurts my standing with Google. Well, you get it. Thanks for listening.
However, I’m not redoing that post at this time. But, if the topic interests you, there are three other blog posts to check out that discuss client and interior designer relationships from both sides.
You can find them here.
My Interior Design Client is Giving Me Sleepless Nights!
I Think My Interior Designer Might Be Ripping Me Off!
Help! I Hired the Interior Designer from Hell!
But, there’s much more I have for you today. Earlier, a kind reader sent me some pics of rooms with these beautiful Hurricane Candle Lanterns.
But, wait, Laurel! How on earth did you find your blog post on someone’s LinkedIn page?
Oh, haha, I guess we’re not quite through with that unsavory topic. I’m always afraid I’m boring you with crap like that. Okay, that’s a great question, and it actually does tie in somewhat with a question sent to me from Kate in Colorado.
Alas, it’s a bit technical. To put it briefly, I did a google search on the topic to see if I needed to tweak the headline maybe. As I was scrolling down page ONE, I found the words, I instantly recognized as my own on the thief’s LinkedIn page.
Okay, as I was saying, darling Kate sent me an email lamenting that she couldn’t find the source of these beautiful hurricane candle holders. Here’s what she said:
I have been thoroughly enjoying your kitchen and bedroom remodeling posts, and never get tired of following your design process.
While I haven’t commented lately because, honestly, I’m just so in awe of your incredible talent. If I owned your home, and you were my designer, and you gave me those choices, I’d just close my eyes and tell you to surprise me!
Like Mary’s kitchen, I’m still just gob-smacked; it’s so gorgeous!
For the past few years, I’ve had a nagging question, and I’m wondering if you could use my question in a post.
Where do interior designers get their stuff?
I have specifically been eyeing the OMG gorgeous hurricane candleholders that I often see. (Is that what they’re called?)
I’ve been looking for over two years for the one that Mark Sikes used at his own home and in several projects. Ashley Whittaker has also used that same one repeatedly.
Blaire Murfree gorgeous dining room via Flower Magazine
And now James Farmer and Blaire Murfree have used another hurricane candleholder that’s just, WOW. I’d cash in my stocks! – Well, maybe wait, they’re starting to rebound – to buy those beauties!
Blaire Murfree elegant living room via Flower Magazine
I’ve looked everywhere. Well, obviously, NOT everywhere.
I’ve looked on 1stdibs & Chairish & OneKingsLane & Etsy & etc.etc. Apparently, there’s one more place that I’m NOT looking! And maybe other readers wonder, too?
Thanks for considering my question!
Thank you so much, Kate. I’m blushing.
Now, folks, I love you, but please don’t rush to email me and inquire if I can locate something you see on the Internet. This does happen frequently. I so wish I could help everyone, but it’s impossible.
However, you don’t need me because I will give you some tips from a professional
stalker – errr, blogger. ;]
First, going to a source where you think you might find something, like the sources mentioned above, is fine. If you have a hunch, you might very well be right.
But, here’s what I do when trying to locate a product I see on the Internet.
The first tip is to take the photo or a screenshot of whatever it is you are looking for and see if anything pops up that way when you drag the cropped image of your product into google images. By the way, you need a real computer for that part of the exercise.
Above is what you see when you go to https://images.google.com/.
I put the image on my desktop and then made my screen reveal part of my desktop where the image is located. Then, I drag the image into the google images box with the camera icon.
It works quite well for flat items like fabric and wallpaper. However, not always.
Failing that, I then use my Google search box with those descriptive keywords.
In this case, it appears to maybe be a Vintage Hurricane candle holder.
However, if you see the same item repeatedly, it might not be vintage or antique. If you’re still coming up dry, try different keywords. If you find something even a little bit close, click on it, and then look in your right-side sidebar.
Repeat that exercise, several times. Try tweaking your keywords.
That’s what I did before the stolen blog post saga, and YES! I found the beautiful candle holders.
Otherwise, why would I be telling you all this and putting you to sleep?
The beautiful and supremely talented Meg Braff sells them on her website.
Now that I located them, I put them in Google Images to see if there are other vendors. There are. But, I also found the manufacturer. International Shades.
However, you have to email them if you want to see their website.
I need to add them for the next update to Laurel’s Rolodex.
And speaking of– In the back of Laurel’s Rolodex is another tutorial that goes into greater detail about how I locate items on the Internet.
And, speaking of Laurel’s Rolodex
Surprise! I’m having a mid-summer FLASH SALE of my interior Design Guides.
I am offering 20% PLUS an additional 5% off on EVERYTHING! But, this is only for a few days.
In addition, there are also additional discounts if you purchase any bundle of two or more guides. One bundle gives you two of the guides for free!
To get started, if you are unfamiliar with my rockin’ interior design guides, please begin here. From there, you can click on the various links for more information.
To go to the purchase page, where you’ll also find out about all of the terrific bundles, please go here.
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!
Wow! I had no idea, however, Serena & Lily just put all of their gorgeous custom upholstered pieces on sale! Plus, they are promising SIX-week delivery on many of their pieces. Fantastic.
by Laurel Bern
My mom always marvels at how I can find things on the internet when she can’t. I follow a similar path that you do. Sometimes when I’m completely unsure of how to describe something I will just start with whatever words come to mind for google and refine from there depending on what pops up. Like I may have started out with “glass candle holder on pedestal”.
You did a great job of taking the work of answering “how do I find…?” off your own plate because now you can send them a link to this post every time you get an inquiry.
If you download the Google App on your phone, it now supports image searches! Just discovered it last month. And you can add text to refine.
Also, ask the wench who her ghostwriter was and go after them!!
Brad Pitt left his wife for a homewrecker. You don’t need that in your life. 🙂
It’s a common reaction of people who are in the wrong, and they know they’re wrong, to deflect like that woman did to you. People do it all the time. She’s the one who didn’t do her homework, and then she has the nerve to tell you that YOU should have done YOUR homework by checking in with her before accusing her of theft. LOL. Crazy.
There was yelling and it was directed AT YOU!!!??? What a jerk. It’s SO easy to just apologize!
I’m a very recreational blogger and similarly discovered several of my diy posts–the ones that most boosted my stats–were “scraped.”
I learned quickly that scraping is when some glashhole takes your post (and photos) NEARLY verbatim, adds an occasional “according to DustandDoghair” and then proceeds to reproduce your article on their site with the occasional word change. Sure they mention you, but there are no links and they basically steal your content/headline/traffic…and in my case, what would have been my best producers in an otherwise rarely noticed hobby blog.
Such noobs out there! Glad you busted yours!!! Kick her ass.
Sista – I despise a THEIF and a LIAR 🙁 I wish you’d let us know WHO that was – so that we could send a kind note (or two) just sayin”
Blessings to YOU !
That thief story enraged me!! I hope you were able to regain your peace.
Very much enjoy your blogposts and especially the pictures!
Sending a big thank you to those who suggested Google Lens!
I just learned the Google search engine for plant identification. You just take a photo of your plant and use the Google lens to identify it. This is very helpful for gardeners; I didn’t know that designers also used it for materials.
I am so sorry you were plagiarized. It is a horrible, sneaky, lazy-person trick. Writing is hard work and not many do it well. Proper citations ARE taught in college and now in many high schools as well and everyone should be aware that if he/she did not think it up; it isn’t original. My husband was a patent agent for years and copyright/patent/ intellectual property is a really sticky wicket. It takes time and money to “own” your own work. Nicolai Tesla (the greatest inventor of all time) didn’t patent his works , his competitors did and it left him penniless. The scientist who developed synthetic insulin didn’t patent it because he/she wanted it to be available to all who needed it. Now, delivery and packaging systems are patented so my son with Type 1 diabetes has to pay $100’s of dollars for the stuff that keeps him alive (while he is able to buy it for pennies in Europe and Mexico). Go figure.
Laurel, how awful to be plagarized, especially by a horrible troll. I have had my work stolen on a few occasions and it feels like the violation it is. However, as many readers have noted, no one can forever steal your wit or expertise and for that we can be thankful. Incidentally I have used your marvellous search method a number of times and have found it very revealing! Thanks.
We all know why the thief stole your work…because it’s priceless! Who else has such a wealth of knowledge and shares so abundantly??
I love the prior comment on copyrighting…my husband has several images that he wants to protect till he’s ready to publish. I’m going to pass that info on to him.
Before the days of photography, I made a miniature replica of my sister for my mom for Mother’s Day…I even used some of my sister’s hair to wig the 6″ figure. I entered it in the county fair, and won a ribbon. But someone took the doll…I heard from the fair staff that they thought it was a little girl who loved miniatures as much as I did. As a 12 year old, I was told that no one had ever stolen an exhibit from the fair before, so I got to be the first to receive that dubious honor. But I wish I had gotten a picture first!
I’m just glad you found out! Honesty and integrity are worth holding out for!!
Stop the Steal! Sorry, couldn’t help myself.😂
Was the designer’s name Karen? 🤣
Curious if your method would work with images of Brad Pitt. I’d like to find someone like him. 😍
See Laurel, this is what happens when you’re having a glass of wine while reading your blog.
Laurel – Thank you so much for using my question in a blog post. But OMG – I can’t believe someone is stealing your intellectual property AND yelling at you for holding her accountable! This just makes my blood boil.
But back to my question – I had tried google images, but I had not used keywords. Now, I just followed your instructions and voila! it works! Thank you!
A retired professor here: “Unintentional” plagiarism is still plagiarism. And yes, plagiarism is theft of someone else’s intellectual and/or artistic work. I’m puzzled about why this still happens so often today since there are plenty of plagiarism detection tools on the web that make it easy to determine whether a piece is original. I’m sorry this happened to you, Laurel. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll share this anecdote: A colleague in my department was grading a stack of student essays and came across a submission that was very familiar. Turns out a student had copied one of the professor’s OWN publications verbatim and submitted it for the assignment as her work. Bizarre!!
Hi, Several readers have suggested getting your blog copyrighted. I worked in publishing for a number of years and, in a nutshell, this is the legal situation. You, as a creator of content, automatically have a copyright on the work you produce. You can indicate this at the bottom of your website or blog page with the copyright symbol (c) and your name and the year. This serves as a notice that this is your work product. It is not, legally enforceable, but it is a deterrent. However, if you want to be able to sue an infringer, you must take the step of registering your content with the US Copyright Office, filling out the form, and pay the fee. I am not sure how much it is these days. The Office takes a number of weeks to process the application. When the registration is awarded, you can sue infringers.
How shocking- and brazen thievery. I agree with a previous responder that those that protest super loudly- are usually the most guilty. From personal experience, no one cares about copywriting whether the book world or blogging. It’s crazy but good on you for pushing back on that horrid woman. If she steals other bloggers content, I can’t imagine how she would “pad” her bill when lacking in any moral compass. Thank you for sharing!
Laurel, my experience has been that those who become the most indignant when you call them out are usually the most guilty. That woman’s response to you speaks volumes about her guilt and her integrity (or lack thereof). As a lawyer (although no expert in intellectual property) I agree with another reader’s suggestion that you may want to talk to an attorney about copywriting your work. Thank you so much for everything you share so generously, and for the tip on tracking down source info via Google.
This type of thievery of blog posts was one of my reasons for throwing in the towel on blogging. Of course, it was not my livelihood, so the situation is not exactly the same. Having said that, you probably will not believe where I found a lot of my posts — on a JAPANESE website, complete with “translation”!
It got so complicated with some of the “safeguards” that were being offered that it blew up my non-technical brain. However, your reader who mentioned copyrighting your work is probably onto something. The reaction of your thief leaves me shaking my head.
Laurel, I can’t believe a designer would have a ghost-writer for her blog, much less allow that writer to plagiarize your work! Shameful! About your search method, this is exactly what I wanted to know! I always wondered how you did it!
Off the wall request: I think you’ve had your Roborock S6 Pure Robot Vacuum and Mop for about 18 months now. Still loving it? How about an update?
Thanks, again, for the great information. You don’t deserve to be yelled at, but it is so crazy out there in cyber land. I always learn something and love your sense of humor.
Are your blog posts copyrighted? consider consulting an intellectual property attorney to discuss whether that might be advisable in your circumstances.
Hi Laurel. This was meant for me. I have been looking for those hurricanes/candle holders forever. I love James Farmer and would have gotten in touch with him to find the whereabouts (I know him), but he has gotten sooo busy and popular that it’s next to impossible to reach him anymore. Thank you so much for your tips and for finding them. I only use an iPad, so this was, especially, a good read.
Great post. Your sense of humor has me laughing out loud on my deck and the neighbors are wondering. Hah! Your story is all too common. People who do this consciously continue to amaze me. As a retired grad school professor I drilled into my students’ heads the evils of plagiarism. It didn’t always work. One memorable incident was when two students handed in a lab assignment that was supposed to be written up journal form. As I read each paper it became apparent that they were pretty much duplicates. When questioned, the students enthusiastically denied wrong doing. And here’s the kicker. Even when I posted each of their papers on both of my large computer monitors, and the text in each paper turned red (identical text) thanks to the document compare function, they both still denied until their faces turned beet red after which they cried angry tears.
Great post Laurel, sorry about the steal.
Google now has a very quick way to search:
How to use Google Lens on Chrome desktop
Find an image you’d like to search.
Right-click on the image.
Click Search image with Google Lens.
YOu not only will” find the exact image, but many similar options. Very Handy
Google “lens” feature also on Google Photos, so if you use that as storage as I do for thousands of images, you can use lens feature easily on phone or Ipad.
How frustrating it is to deal with those who clearly make common practice of aggressively turning the wrong back onto the wronged. Of course, whoever you are, Ms. Thief, it is your full responsibility as your name is on it.
I also meant to add, after you right click, a drop down menu comes up and you choose “search image with google lens”
On the Imac you only have to right click the mouse on an image and it gives you the opportunity to crop what is in the photo you are searching. Then to the right of your screen, images will pop up. Usually if it’s something you can purchase, it gives you many options, prices, the name of the item and who makes it. If it is something unique, you will get images of like items.
Laurel, I totally understand your feeling violated after seeing your work on someone else’s blog. Unfortunately, intellectual property theft is rampant, as you have seen firsthand. So glad that you didn’t back down, and that “designer” has some nerve accusing you. As they say, ignorance is no defense, and anyone at the top of an organization is ultimately responsible for what their employees do.
As a college instructor, I see instances of plagiarism from time to time, and it always throws me for a loop. I’m always amazed that anyone steals anything from anybody, but I guess that’s the way I was brought up.
Contrary to what someone has said, footnote citation IS taught at the college level, and repeatedly stressed over and over, but it seems to be a sign of our times that students choose to ignore the issue and cheat anyway. My feeling is that honesty is best instilled at a very early age in the home. If anyone comes from a culture where it’s ok to steal, then there’s very little you can do to change that mindset.
Laurel, That was great – I am applauding you right now. Too often we allow ourselves to be cowed by the other in a confrontation. By the way her aggressive behavior toward you is a technique that is discussed in sales training – although yelling (even in written texts) is not advocated. Most people back down – you did not. So – footnoting sources seems not to be taught at university anymore. When you lift (ahem!) I mean quote another, one is expected to footnote the piece – it shows you have done the research. Even senators and presidents have been guilty of forgetting to credit others. Anywho – great post and as my niece would say “You Go Girl!” 😉
Thanks for the tips on using google image search, Laurel. And you have all my commiserations for the blog post theft. So many people don’t realise how easy it is to detect plagiarism, and quite often, the guilty simply deny it when faced with proof!
I haven’t commented on your latest renovation plans, as I haven’t had time thoroughly to digest the various plans. I applaud all your choices for the kitchen — and yes, plenty of fridge space is always a good idea. As for the downstairs, I’ll leave it for later!